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Official Discusses Plans For Reform Of Russian Prisons

Moscow Jail Windows, Wall, Barbed WireMoscow, 10 March: By 2020 Russia's correctional system should be brought in line with European standards, the head of the Federal Service of Administration of Punishment (FSIN), Aleksandr Reymer, said in Moscow on Thursday (10 March).

"Talk is, among other things, about the forms of punishment. We also propose the introduction of forced labour as a form (of punishment)," he said.

Reymer said that the reform of the correctional system will be carried out in three stages in the period to 2020. "The first stage of the reform - the period to 2012 - envisages the drawing up of a legal-and-regulatory framework and jail models. The second stage - from 2013 to 2016 inclusive - envisages an adaptation of establishments, while in the course of the last, the third, stage, from 2017 to 2020 inclusive, we intend to analyse the work we will have done," the head of the service said.

Reymer said that "the reform envisages a total, radical modernization of the existing system".

He said it was possible that not all the plans will be implemented in the set timeframe.

"A lot has to be done. We will not be able to completely change the system in 10 years. However, we must do most of what has been planned," the head of FSIN said.

(Another Interfax report on the same day quoted Reyman as saying at a meeting with "young" FSIN employees that towers manned by guards, guard dogs and barbed wire should become a thing of the past. "Man will be replaced by technology - it cannot be bribed or intimidated, it will not turn a blind eye on illegal deliveries. Major work to introduce integrated security systems is under way," said Reymer. "We will set up a single standby unit instead of the several offices operating now," he added.

"The conditions of confinement in the new jails will be different to those in colonies. Living sectors will replace units. Inmates will be housed in groups of two to eight people," he said, as quoted in yet another Interfax report.

Reymer said that in the work with the inmates "serious emphasis will be placed on preparing convicts for release, so that they leave prisons as citizens adapted to society rather than people who are bitter about their lot in life".

"There will remain high security prisons with the strictest possible regime. Leaders of crime groups, extremists and other dangerous criminals will serve their sentences there," said Reymer.

A fourth Interfax report quoted Reymer as saying: "It is necessary to change the current early release on parole system. It is important to make it as transparent as possible. The assessment criteria should only be objective and clear to every inmate." He added: "There should be no subjectivism in assessment. The system should be free of corruption.")

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